Tantalizing but vague promises. There is an entire curve of development to see what upgraded content may be eventually delivered. Lots of possibilities in the past have wound up getting sidetracked because of attention focus switch of another, unrelated tech introduction. Always a moving target, one must eventually decide when to jump in with both feet.
The price of including 1.3 connecting hasn't been mentioned as any concern. The time factor of ramping up to incorporate it - is. Now mentioned as a $1500 budget, it will get you what you desire to enhance the entertainment experience. Delivering basic digital performance makes the normal non-extreme performance of a $200 receiver relatively undetectible from that of a $2000 receiver.
Personal difference is in the speakers. In addition to looking for the mentioned commonly available respectable brands, I'd add looking for these specific models: Paradigm Atom, PSB Alpha B, Epos ELS 3, Monitor Audio Bronze B2, & Klipsch RF-52. All bodacious value performers above the crowd of so-sos.
I urge investing some critical listening audition time with a CD you are very familiar with which includes a fair amount of vocals. Vocals & the majority of instrumentals are mid-range frequency. Voices you have an automatic notion of how they should sound. Take notes as to things like thinness, strained, boominess, any detectible distortion, etc. Listening is such a fleeting thing that comparisons make confusion of memory so darned easy. I'd say auditioning three brands a day the absolute maximum; two is better.
That said & my urging for personal decision making, there are a few companies nowadays that sell direct to consumer with usually a 30 day in home listening period. C/net has highly praised some of these. Brands in this gorup would include Aperion & Axiom - praised as great performance & value.
Pleasing, satisfying sound reproduction probably trumps the consideration of 1.3. Some of us who frequently post here has speakers 40 years old. Certainly long since paid off & not replaced unlike several receivers & TVs.
Actual implementation of HDMI so far has been spotty - no guaranteed success story. Too with 1.3, it's probably 2-3 years down the road until we have a feel for what it really can do. HDMI future upgrades have other possible pathways including add-on switch boxes & wireless.
A beauty of a TV choice. Start the speaker selection process. It's more important teh waiting for 1.3 inclusion. When good reproduction reaches such high improved level - then further incremental gains are falling into the law of diminishing returns. It's like a good 720 broadcast being close to indistinguishable from 1080.